The 14th edition of the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF), one of the most prestigious film events in the Arab world, is due to be held between 6 and 13 December.
The organisers are gearing up for the grand gala opening, followed by the nightly gala screenings at the Madinat Jumeirah Arena.
The festival will screen films across several venues, including Madinat Jumeirah Arena, Madinat Theatre, Souk Madinat Jumeirah and VOX Cinemas, Mall of the Emirates and The Beach, the latter location offering free-to-attend open-air cinema.
This year, the festival will present two prestigious DIFF Lifetime Achievement Awards: to British actor Sir Patrick Stewart and Indian actor Irrfan Khan.
A DIFF Honorary Award will be presented to Wahid Hamed, one of Egypt’s most acclaimed writers, whose contributions to Egyptian cinema and television span four decades.
The festival will showcase "over 120 exciting, original and compelling films from the Arab world and beyond, introducing audiences to fresh new talent and original and distinctive filmmaking," the festival organisers announced in a press release.
"The films, crafted in over 40 languages, will populate DIFF’s Arab and Emirati competitions, and its out-of-competition segments dedicated to children, the Arab world, virtual reality and cinema from around the globe."
The even organizers highlighted the various Muhr competition sections as a means of promoting a wide range of filmmaking talent.
"DIFF’s highly contested Muhr competition for feature fiction and non-fiction, and short films originating from the United Arab Emirates and the Arab world, will showcase over 60 of the latest and best films from established and promising new talent."
The Gulf Muhr Shorts section will showcase yet another angle on regional creativity through a diverse selection of creative short films, providing an opportunity for filmmakers to premiere their unique projects on the world stage.
The Muhr Emirati category celebrates rising local talent from the UAE and shares their projects with a global audience.
The Arabian Nights section will include eleven films that highlight the multifaceted nature of Arabian culture. In this section Egypt will be represented with Khaled Diab's Induced Labor and Ahmed Amer's Kiss Me Not.
Cinema Under the Stars will take place at The Beach, offering free-to-attend open-air cinema. Among the films screened will be Jennifer Peedom’s epic new documentary Mountain, narrated by two-time Oscar nominee Willem Dafoe.
There will also be the world premiere of documentary A Grain of Sand from renowned British guitarist and composer Jason Carter, along with British-Tunisian filmmaker Claire Belhassine’s debut feature film The Man Behind the Microphone.
DIFF will also feature a Cinema for Children section, which is billed as providing "an eclectic mix of fantastical films brimming with wonder, excitement and adventure for all the family to enjoy."
The highlights of this section include the animated comedy-drama Ferdinand, directed by prestigious Brazilian director Carlos Saldanha, the Mexican animation film Ana and Bruno, and French director Nicolas Bary’s feature film Little Spirou.
Academy Award-winning actress Cate Blanchett joins the jury panel of the IWC Filmmakers Jury for the sixth IWC Filmmaker Award, offered by the Swiss luxury watch manufacturer IWC Schaffhausen and DIFF.
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